Herby puy lentils, greens and smoked mack­erel

A CRUNCHY SALAD THAT’S AS TASTY AS THE FISH ON TOP

The Simple Things - - GATHERING -

Serves 6

300g dried puy lentils Juice of 2 le­mons 2 tsp English mus­tard 4 tbsp ex­tra virgin olive oil A few sprigs each of mixed soft herbs (such as tar­ragon, basil, pars­ley, mint) 6 spring onions 3 small bulb of fen­nel 3 ripe av­o­ca­dos 200g baby spinach 450g smoked mack­erel (or feta cheese, if pre­ferred) 2 tsp sumac 1 tsp black sesame seeds

1 Bring a small pan of salted wa­ter to the boil and cook the puy lentils fol­low­ing the packet in­struc­tions, so they still hold their shape. Drain the cooked lentils, then leave to steam dry for a few mins.

2 While the lentils are cook­ing, you can make the dress­ing. Squeeze the lemon juice into a large serv­ing bowl, and add the mus­tard and olive oil. Pick the leaves from the herbs, dis­card the stalks and finely chop. Stir into the dress­ing and sea­son well. Trim and finely slice the spring onions and add to the bowl also.

3 Trim the fen­nel and shave as finely as pos­si­ble, us­ing ei­ther a potato peeler or a man­dolin. Trans­fer to a bowl of ice-cold wa­ter to crisp up. Chop av­o­cado into 1cm chunks.

4 When the lentils are ready and have cooled a lit­tle, toss them into the herby dress­ing, along with the av­o­cado and spinach. Drain the fen­nel, spin it dry, and add to the bowl also. Break over the mack­erel, sprin­kle with sumac and sesame seeds, and serve straight away.

For a veg­e­tar­ian ver­sion of this fra­grant starter, re­place the fish with crum­bled feta

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